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>> coming up next on booktv, michael scheuer, former head of the bin laden unit at the cia, talks about osama bin laden and his war against the united states 10 years after 9/11. mr. scheuer spoke about his book at the philadelphia free library. >> good evening, everyone. i think it's perhaps a troubling time to be talking about this subject, but the events of the day of the past month perhaps, six weeks, requires us all i
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think he rethink how we stand in the middle east. so tonight i'd like to talk about the three threats to the united states that emanate from the persian gulf. iran, saudi arabia, and what i call al qaeda -ism. in speaking tonight about the persian gulf, and the war against the islamist militancy emanating from there, i want to start with words george washington used to describe the new national governments responsibilities to ensure that americans clearly understand the threats they face at home and abroad. i am sure that the massive citizens of these united states meanwhile, washington told john j. in 1796. and i believe that they will always act will whenever they can update a right understanding of matters. let me say that i share washington's fate and he essentially sound common sense of american.
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except perhaps that of the coming generation whose male members seemed unable to figure out how to put a baseball cap on so the brim points forward. but i'm not saying saying that when a national government under either party is capable or even desirous of the actually educating the citizenry about the islamist threats confronting america. today, americans simply do not have what washington called the right understanding of the threats from the persian gulf region. in my writings i thought to acquaint americans with the nature of these threats. whether from iran in its a religion is in iraq and lebanon, the vicious martial anti-christian, anti-jewish and anti-western brand of islam is theology exporter under saudi arabia's official, or the forces of osama bin laden, al qaeda and other sunnis islamists lead and insight. and i also argued that the united states government under both parties is fighting an
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islamist enemy that does not exist. and, therefore, it is a policy that runs counter to america's historical traditions, and so to its best interests. official washington islamist enemy is the stuff of hollywood farce. beat a shia or sunni, the islamists are a limited band of fanatic nihilists, ready to kill widely and indiscriminately for the pure joy of murdering. and ready to sacrifice their lives because my daughters go to university, i went hold early presidential primaries every four years, and because i, may god forgive me, have one or more sam adams after work. would that such an enemy existed, for he would be at most the legal nuisance and not a national security threat posed today to lesser or greater degree by iran, the saudi islamist imperialism, and the sunni islamist movement symbolized and inspired by osama bin laden.
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this view of america's islamist enemy is unfortunate endemic in both u.s. political parties, much of the u.s. and western media, and perhaps most damaging, much of the academy, especially and most prestigious universities. it is in my judgment that this is almost entirely without substantiation. and it continues to be washington's working assumption, america will slowly but surely be defeated with a loss of prestige, plot, financial solvency, and domestic political cohesion. we will lose not because any of these threats are stronger than we are. that certainly is not the case. america's myopic indeed can america's myopic coming elite and its media acolytes have taken enemies who are each in military capability, at most the puny five-foot tall, even sandals, and made them into 10-foot tall and still growing behemoths.
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the three threats i'm going to speak about are those posed by iran, saudi arabia and al qaeda and its allies. taking these three threats, each of which is based in the persian gulf, let us first look at the smallest least threatening threat, that which comes from iran. since our tehran embassy was seized in 1979 and america was humiliated for more than 400 days, the islamist republic iran has been the bipartisan u.s. governing elite. the hostage holding great a hatred for iran among ordinary americans that is easily exploited by u.s. politicians, journalists, academics and pro-israel organizations. so successfully have these then comes the successful have the scare mongers been in hiding what they often call a nazi like every threat in fact, that in all of american history there probably has not been a non-threat like iran that has
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been more feared by the average american. look at iran and what you see. first, we say a relatively small island of shia muslim surrounded by a sunni world that despises them. and would rather kill them than all the americans, britons or israelis they can get their hands on. second, we see and ivan that in the last decade has been virtually surrounded by u.s. military bases. and knows that its access to the high seas can be shut almost instantly by the u.s. navy. and third, we see an iran whose energy production has peaked, and with the economy it supports steadily declining. in cold war terms then, iran is fully contained by opposing powers. but then again, so was iraq and that did not stop in the necessary disastrous war. icon you might say, but what if iran gets a nuclear weapon? my answer is the is no if about
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it. iran will get a nuclear capability. if we had been serious about stopping it, we would have stopped our european allies from selling iran the necessary elementary technology in the 1990s. the iranian leadership, moreover, has heard nothing from washington, israel, and much of me to for the past 20 years. except threats of regime change and preemptive strikes, has experienced little but the reality of u.s. u.n. sanctions, and most recently has seen more than 400 u.s. congressmen and senators turning on their own president by standing and cheering the 2010 speech in washington by benjamin not an issue calling for a war on iran. on iran. it has also seen as racing today in egypt western governments encourage their nice safe and politically naïve college students to twitter young iranians to urge a political revolution without a care about
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how many of those iranians would die in the streets as a result. given this context in terms of political reality, iran's leaders are truly negligent if they were not seeking an effective defense against the constant threats from the world's most militarily potent nations. so tehran will certainly get a nuclear weapon, but then what? well, my response will be to ask, so what? iran doesn't have the ability to hit the united states with such a weapon. while we certainly can't incinerate persia. and she is will not supply it the sunni extremes will be more likely to use against iran than against the west. but will they not use it against israel, you ask. and i would say only if iranian leaders are the most stupid men and women all ever created. israel possesses a large multifaceted and wholly accounted, unaccounted for arsenal. and it would surely use it if
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tehran look like is even remotely thinking about a first strike. indeed iran's acquisition of nuclear weapons still leads at a shia island surrounded by hostile sunnis, u.s. military bases, and u.s. and israeli nuclear target years focused squarely on. in other words, with a without a nuclear weapon, iran is contained. it continue to gavel with violence, but it cannot pose a military threat to the united states. before moving to our so-called saudi friends, let me say that there is one serious iranian threat to the united states. it only if we were the israelis strike iran first. thanks to more than 35 years of criminal negligence by the u.s. executive and legislative branches, in the areas of border control and domestic security, both iran and its lebanese hezbollah circuit after a large
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clandestine infrastructure in the continental united states. one which works with similar networks in canada, mexico, and the caribbean. iranians are too smart and too afraid of u.s. military power to use this network to strike first in america. but it clearly is designed to allow tehran to respond with violence year, if iran is attacked by the united states or by our israeli allies. now, for saudi arabia. and the other gulf arab tyrannies that govern the states adjacent to what we too often forget is referred to as -- by the sunni world as the iranian go. lenny first aid say that i give saudi arabia and to a lesser degree its fellow tyrannies as the nationstate that is perhaps the most dangerous to do united states and to the west, generally. yes, russia and china are threats to the united states, but they are threats washington openly acknowledges. closely watches and assesses, and is fully capable of defending america against.
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saudi arabia, however, is a serious threat. indeed, one more dangerous than iraq. toy which are governing elite in both parties turns a blind eye. out a leak this easily pretend that we have a closer reliable ally. it keeps america's energy security pendants -- dependent on its enemies by relying on the saudis to play a pro-u.s. role in the world oil market. and it endangers our economy but allowing the saudis to buy an ever larger share, of our evermore out of control federal debt. in addition, the saudis over the past 30 years have built a highly effective lobby in the united states which is as pernicious, effective and corrupting as ipac. this lobby employs former u.s. ambassadors, generals and senior intelligence officers to argue its case in the white house, the congress and the media come and
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especially in "the wall street journal." and needless to say, this lobby's work is enthusiastically assisted by our oil and arms making corporations whose concerns have less to do with u.s. security than in making sure they keep their seats on the saudi gravy train. that is, even now hauling away another $60 billion worth of us-made arms. due to these factors, u.s. leaders never tell americans the truth about the kingdom, which is that since the 1970s, oil them start in and you know a of western wealth peninsula, the saudis have quietly exported a brand of sunni islam that has radicalized much of the historically defined sunni middle east region, and which is now in places like indonesia, malaysia, pakistan, afghanistan, india, the balkans, the north caucasus, and sub-saharan africa. last year, nigeria for example,
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where saudi and gulf missionaries have long labored and spent large sums of money come and islamists group amended their to for local agenda to name the united states as its number one target for code unquote america's oppression and aggression against muslim nations, particularly in iraq and afghanistan, and because of its blind support for israel, closed quote. more immediately dangerous for the west, however, are the saudi funded -- activities of its circuit islamist terrorists in united states and europe, especially in the united kingdom. for more than 30 years the saudis domestic religious establishment which controls education, social policy and missionary work has brought western muslims to the kingdom for theological training and its religious universities here these men returned to the west to preach what only can be described as a martial oriented
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islam is in realism, a vision of the world as holy islamic which for the west would mean that christian and jewish populations could convert, except the subordination to islam, or face elimination. these saudi trained preachers are prominent in mosques in the united states and in europe, and have secured positions as chaplains in western universities, prison systems and militaries. this is not to say, let me stress, that all american or european muslim communities share this martial an expansionist orientation, but it's a very much to say that the saudi trained clerics have attained enough positions in the west and have enough access to muslim youth through multiple medium vehicles have a growing impact. they are now influencing some young muslim males in the west in a pro-jihad direction. in much the same way they have for years influenced them in the middle east, asia and africa.
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those who doubt this would be well served in reviewing the escalating number of militant related activities that have been uncovered and stopped in the united states since 2007. to note of the growing number of u.s., young u.s. canadian, australian and british muslims who are going abroad to fight and train under al qaeda is bad and somalia, yemen and afghanistan, and also to note al qaeda the very successful recruitment of talented u.s. citizen muslims to run media operations targeting muslim communities in the english-speaking world. ..
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>> bin laden has matured as a defensive and temp rate islamist, not like the sovereign monarchy in the muslim brotherhood. even with these differences, however, the saudis overseas missionary activities are an indispensable aid to al-qaeda's organizational, military and media activities. through expatriot peachers, and direct funding for local options, the saudis have created muslim communities in most areas of the world that are alienated and even hateful toward the west. and so these communities are congenial environments for hosting an al-qaeda presence. in the balkans, in india and bangladesh, in the north caucuses in south asia, in north
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america, in europe and in if saharan africa. these ngos and doses of saudi cash have, for decades, prepared the ground for al-qaeda and its allies. do the salktys realize this? -- saudis realize? of course they do. we must always keep in mind that the only attack saudi leaders disapprove of are those that occur inside the kingdom. a final point to make on the relationship outside the arabian peninsula is that saudi activities abroad relieve al-qaeda of the need to fund, staff and manage a humanitarian, educational health services wing like those that are run by hamas, hezbollah and the muslim brotherhood. and, therefore, bin laden is allowed to focus on spreading his organization and planning military activities. bin laden, al-qaeda and their allies and those they
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inspire, then, are a third of the persian gulf threats, and they are, i think, the most dangerous to the united states. they are the most dangerous not because they are more powerful than the united united states, r because her supported by all muslims. they are the most dangerous gulf origin threat to america because the u.s. bipartisan governing elite has uniformly refused to accept reality. from the first bush to clinton to george w. bush to barack obama, americans have been told that they are at war because al-qaeda and its allies are motivated by hatred for our liberty, way of life and democratic institutions. this is a palpable, lethal lie. we are being attacked because of our at least half century record of intervention in the muslim world. it is in the cumulative impact of 50 years of intervengsism
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that we find the principle organizational glue that provides a modicum of unity to the movement's always-fragile cohesion. the islamist motivation is to be found in their perception of u.s. foreign policy as an attack on the islamic religion and its followers. this is a view that is held not only by those carrying ak-47s, but with extensive by reliable pollsters, by nearly 80% of all muslims worldwide -- young and old, moderate and mill stand concern militant men and women. no american must accept the indictment of the anti-muslim intent of the u.s. foreign policy, but to avoid military depiece, economic ruin and ultimately widespread domestic violence, u.s. leaders must acknowledge and explain to americans that this is the muslim world's perception and that u.s. security requires all of us to accept the hard truth
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that perception is always reality. and what are the policies motivating the bin laden-inspired islamists? i can do no better than list the six u.s. policies bin laden enumerated in late summer 1996 and to which he has held closely the next 15 years. i would also note that four of the six policies motivate to a greater or lesser extent our foes in iran and saudi arabia. according to bin laden, then, america's declaration of war on islam and on muslims is clear in the following facts. first, the u.s. military and civilian presence on the arabian peninsula. second, u.s. and western exemployeation of muslim energy -- exploitation of muslim energy resources. third, the u.s. military presence in muslim lands outside the peninsula. fourth, u.s. support for nations that oppress muslims, especially russia, china and india. fifth, endless and unqualified u.s. support for israel.
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sixth, u.s. support and protection for muslim tyrannies. thus, it is policy, not lifestyle, that is the cause for the war bin laden declared on the united states on 23, august, 1996. and yet nearly 15 years on there has been no public contention by any serious political figure save ron paul and dennis cue sin niche that the islamists are motivated by anything more than a blind blood lust and a cultural/political hatred for america and the west. why is such the case? well, i believe it is because america's governing elite are addicted to interventionism. it is, sadly, their default response to international affairs. witness, for example, obama, clinton and mccain intervening on both sides in today's egyptian crisis. from obama to speaker boehner to
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senator mccain, from "the new york times" to the washington times, from fox news to national public radio and from most of the u.s. presore yacht and pundit try to many of the top pastors of the christian evangelical community u.s. leaders left, right and center believe there is no political problem, war, gender equality deficiency, revolution, ethnic conflict, crooked election, jailed female poet or religious clash that does not require direct american involvement. and this whether or not they can identify even a single genuine u.s. national interest at risk. in making in this this claim, i do not suggest i can read the minds or hearts of those who have for three decades designed our disastrous foreign policy in the muslim world. because no one has such divine insight, i take as my guide general washington's assertion that the views of men can only
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be known or guessed at by their words or actions. using this metric, our leaders' pervasive, bipartisan interventionism emerges in sharp relief. u.s. intervention, then, is the islamists' main motivation for fighting america. and while u.s. citizens can debate if policy status quo should be kept or one or more of the policies should be amended or abandoned, maintenance of washington's prevailing assumption that muslims hate americans for who they are and how they live and not for what the u.s. government does in the islamic world will lead to nothing less than a vast case of self-deception using -- yielding, eventually, calamity for the nation. indeed, the united states today may stand in a historically unique position. no other great power in my memory has faced the situation in which it is likely to be attacked at home in a manner at least as and probably more severe than 9/11 and have no means with which to respond to
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the enemy in a militarily-telling manner. having already destroyed the known infrastructure of al-qaeda and the taliban, we are bereft of meaningful military targets and are left with only the most likely default response, attack iran no matter who attacks us, or attack symbolic targets such as population centers in afghanistan and pakistan or holy places such as mecca or medina. thus, after a second attack in the united states, the choice for washington would be one of two. either standing motionless in a quivering but imto tent rage or launching attacks that would make the warnings of a clash of civilizations all too prescient. in america today, as i think you will agree, the foregoing analysis is not mainstream. indeed, i've often heard it dismissed as pathological. and yet more than 14 years after al-qaeda declared war on
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the united states the cynical act of political expediency in iraq known as the surge is unraveling as u.s. casualties resume, sectarian violence grows and more elections come and go. the war in afghanistan is lost beyond recall, and president obama has marooned our military forces making them dependent on resupply routes that traverse hostile russian and pakistani territory. pakistan is in genuine danger of going the way of afghanistan with unfortunate consequences for nuclear proliferation. and the maw ya ha dean -- jewish ya ha dean bleed through is advise in jordan, lebanon and gaza. in addition, the islamist resurgencies have been rekindled with the algerian insurgents spreading into west africa. similar insurgencies of varying but building vitality are underway in yemen, south
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thailand, and the north caucuses. the major cities of hindu, india, have been attacked by islamist fighter, and the islamist movement in the western europe is growing. and in britain it has driven the traditionally stoic security services to the point of public despair. as for the united states, bin laden long ago delineated al-qaeda's war aims for defeating america in three concise phrases. first, to take advantage of economic situations internationally to help lead america to bankruptcy. second, to spread out u.s. military and intelligence forces to sap their flexibility and exhaust their reserves. third, to strip away america's allies and to disrupt domestic/political unity in america as much as possible. i will leave it to the audience to decide using these war aims as a metric whether there is any reason for bin laden and al-qaeda to be discouraged about the progress they have made in the war they began in
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1996. now, let me move to discussing how we can begin to blunt the threats from the persian gulf. the best foreign policy advice for the obama administration, in fact, for any u.s. administration, has been heard by with anyone who's flown on an airliner. during the preflight safety briefing, each passenger is told that in case of an emergency, place your oxygen mask on first and only then help ohs with -- others with theirs. i have referred to this common sense instruction in my books, and i believe in its continuing direct pertinence to u.s. foreign policy. before america and the few of our allies who can fight -- who will fight, rather, can defeat the expanding islamist movement and beat it we must and, unfortunately, with more military power than we've used to date, washington must put it own political and foreign policy houses in order. america can help no alliance partner or other foreign nation until it is reanchorred in its
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own history and traditions. indeed, until this reanchorring occurs, america cannot even help itself. to achievement and this goal -- to achieve this goal but must return to the doctrine crafted by washington and the oh founders -- other founders. in foreign policy the key is an approach that is more independent and less intervengsist. if there be one principle more deeply rooted in the american mind, jefferson wrote, it is that we should have nothing to do with conquest. in america's dealings with iran if saudi arabia as well as its war with islamism, we are losing because the governing elite and its academic and media apologists have turned mr. jefferson's guidance on its head. because of this interventionism which the founders would have damned to hell, we as a nation are mired in an environment in the persian gulf region that is conducive to an endless war with
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muslims. foreign policy is at base about creating multiple options to use to protect genuine u.s. interests and independence in the an always-unpredictable world. but when americans celebrate independence day this coming july, i would predict neither president obama nor senator mccain will have the moral courage to tell americans the truth which is that over the past 35 years both parties have consciously eviscerated u.s. independence on the single most important foreign policy issue: the decision about whether or not to go to war. both parties, for example, have failed to move the united states closer to energy security since the first saudi-led oil embargo in 1973. instead of freeing the u.s. economy from the dagger pointed at its hearts, american presidents -- republican and democratic -- have unmanfully groveled, begsed and even bowed
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to the tyrants in their desperate quest for more oil. the same presidents have so enormously overspent the american treasury that america is now further in the thrall of the same arab tyrants who, with china, have the largest part of our debt. there are few better definitions of abject foreign policy than one that puts u.s. financial security in the hands of its enemies. because of such leaderships, americans find they have lost control over the peace or war decision. if anti-saudi unrest in the kingdom's eastern province ever seriously curtails oil production, u.s. forces will deploy there to defend and secure the saudi police state and to restore the flow of oil. and the reality of an automatic war for oil goes beyond the arab world. currently, mexico is one of our top oil suppliers and is creeping toward the failed -- the status of failed state. and by 2015 the united states
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will import 20% of its crude from the niger delta region. if production in either place -- and both already have insurgencies -- is ever significantly reduced, u.s. soldiers and marines almost certainly will deploy to restore production. and if you think the insurgencies in iraq and afghanistan are nightmares, wait until u.s. forces are fighting in the niger delta's 27,000 square kilometers of swamp and forest. as for mexico, i can only think that our governing elite's cell failure to en-- failure to enforce that component of national defense known as effective border control has set america up for a tragedy of shakespearian proportions, a tragedy that when it comes will be of our own making and one that once started will unfold rapidly and bring with it the strong possibility of significant violence in parts of the united states. americans also have lost control of the peace or war decision
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because their leaders have involved them almost inextricably in the unending religious war between arabs and israelis ignoring the founders' explicit guy dance to avoid getting americans involved in the other people's wars. both parties have not only involved us in this conflict, but in other people's religious wars. can there be any better definition of an insane foreign policy than the one that finds the united states not only involved to the hilt in this irrelevant religious war, but in arming both of of the major antagonists in the war, israel and saudi arabia? by being israel's cash cow and unquestioning protecter and the only o protecter of the fundamentally anti-american saudi state, washington has created a situation in which america will be drawn into any arab/israeli war that includes any arab state beyond palestine no matter the wishes or the
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interests of the american people. having all but negated the ability of the united states to abstain from wars for oil and major wars between arabs and israelis, the u.s. political elite has completed an axis of doom for americans through its apparently limitless zeal for overseas democracy crusading. a perversion of what america stands for that can only lead to war and more war. the american elite's democracy crusading in iraq has destabilized the entire region create canning new threats to oil supply and making prices largely unpredictable. there also is the cost to the taxpayers of nearly a trillion dollars, has killed more than 4500 of our soldier children while wounding 30,000 more and has set the stage for a potential region-wide sectarian civil war. a few more missions accomplished like this one, and the democrat-building realm will bankrupt our nation. and the still-pending threat of
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another war to impose democracy, this time in iran, which is, of course, a more representative state than washington's islamo-fascist arab ally would be ab achievement of hoe herric to -- ho herric proportions. in the reality, it would be like iraq; no more than a war to protect israel. and in terms of american independence, just conjure for a moment the unnerving reality that 30 million americans could awake one morning soon to find themselves at war with iran because a man named netanyahu or ahmadinejad -- both foreigners no american ever voted for -- decided to expand a religious war in which no genuine u.s. interest is at stake. as i noted, our participation in such a war would produce iran-sponsored terrorism in america and just might temporarily unite the entire
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muslim community, 1.4 billion people if you're counting, in the jihad against the united states. america's bipartisan governing elite then with the support of the media and the academy have brought the united states face to face with war at every turn. wars over oil, wars over religious conflicts in which no genuine u.s. interest is risk, and wars to to impose secular democracy on peoples who will fight it to the death. this situation is surely the antithesis of what the founders intended when they designed a system meant to limit the chance of arbitrary government that leads inevitably to tyranny. the founders knew and contemporary americans are painfully learning that there are few better definitions of tyranny than one that finds a nation repeatedly led into wars where no national interests are at risk by the personal beliefs, ambitions or even whims of a single individual in his or her closest advisers.
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to have a shot at negating the persian gulf threats to america, u.s. leaders must be made to abandon their half century bingeover interventionism and begin to rebuild the financial-solvent american public to replace washington's already-collapsing empire. the question is, of course, how to begin to retrieve the blank check commitments u.s. leaders have given to foreigners. let me suggest several ways of proceeding. first, america must accelerate conversion totive energies, expand --tive energies and further exploit fossil fuel reserves. in america nothing should be allowed to defer ingenuity of americans from securing greater energy self-sufficiency. fears induced by the oil leak should not keep drilling halted, and demands for protections for arctic rabbits, the gulf of mexico's shrimp-filled reefs or the pacific waters off
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california at the cost of dead soldiers and marines should be ignored. beyond oil america has no national interests in the persian gulf, arab peninsula region save the freedom of navigation which the u.s. navy can assure. it is our dependence -- and as our dependence on foreign energy declines, this will become much clearer. self-sufficiency will also allow america and the west to stop protecting the gulf and other muslim tyrannies. regimes that cloud our economic destiny steadily ec port religious hatred for us and make our advocacy of freedom appear to be pure hypocrisy. for america and its allies, it will also end the current cruel reality that sees a portion of the price parents pay at the pump flow from oil-rich arabs to islamic insurgents who are killing their soldier children in iraq and afghanistan. second, the impossible must be done. the congress must be made to
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find backbone or be purged in coming elections. a backbone with which to end its supine and surely illegal abty case to the executive branch of its sole power to declare war and, thereby, restore constitutionality and, therefore, sanity to the u.s. war making process. infamously, no congress has declared war since december 8, 1941, and yet we have repeatedly seen america dragged into wars because one man and his advisers have decided it is the right thing to do. joint resolutions permitting the president to start wars are cowardly acts that surrender constitutional prerogatives and allow senates and congressmen to have it both ways. they can applaud the p troops and beat their chest if war goes well, or they can snipe at and undermine the president if war goes belly up. our post-war history is littered
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with failed wars initiated by the president in which divided americans amongst themselves. perhaps the restoration of the founders' intent on the issue of war making will allow americans both to win wars abroad and not wage them against each other at home. third, the united states must stay out of other people's wars, particularly their religious wars. america, for example, now stands as the abject loser in the israel/hezbollah conflict, the israel/palestine war, the economic strangling of hamas and the periodic israeli invasions of gaza. indeed, america is in part losing to bin laden in the islamist movement because of its absolute backing of israel whether requires, among other things, the coddling of arab tyrannies and its self-defeating blind eye for the saudi's blatant and aggressive jihad spreading. america, and i would suggest europe, must withdraw from this savagery.
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no vital aspect of western life or security would be negatively impacted if israel or palestine or both disappeared tomorrow. and this reality ought to receive great attention today as the hezbollah-backed politician becomes lebanon's prime minister, the saudis seek to spread their malign influence by replacing our aid to mubarak, and the egyptian tyranny to theres toward the muslim brotherhood all of which, like the occupation of iraq, will further compromise israel's security. in addition, we are tied to the saudi tyranny only because of the moral cowardice of politicians eager for cheap oil and massive arms sales. we also must reject the patently absurd contention that u.s., western and israeli national security interests in the muslim world are identitial. america is now shedding blood and treasure in iraq because of our country's neokey and pro- conservative and pro-israel
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journalists based on the idiot idea that a democratic state could be created in muslim iraq that would be less than whole heartedly anti-israeli. in doing so, saddam -- a shield for the israelis and israeli security -- were permanently compromised from the moment the u.s.-led invasion of iraq began. more over, this is not a fixable situation. because of potentially -- because pause a potential -- because a potential iraq regime exists only in the minds of pro-israel u.s. citizens, these are the men and women who at day's end are israel's most lethal enemies. the cost of unqualified u.s. support for israel long has been measured only in dollars and political capital and, as such, has been largely ignored by americans. but we are now in a situation where the cost of support for
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israel is or soon will be measured in the lives of american parents' children. that cost, e think, will -- i think, will quickly become obvious and utterly unacceptable to those parents. fourth, finally and i think most important, the u.s. government and its european allies must stop trying to spread democracy abroad by military, financial, humanitarian or political intervention. no young american man or woman should die for the insane goal of giving the people of iraq and afghanistan a possibility of embracing democracy. a phrase used ad infinitum by u.s. presidents and other western leaders. no small r republican government like our own has the right to spend the lives of its young in military crusades for patently unobtainable abstractions such as giving gender equality and
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democracy to foreigners who do not want them and whether r fight them to the death. this is especially true when our youngsters' lives are spent as they have been in iraq and afghanistan by a governing elite that does not intend to win the wars it starts and refuses to allow the force taxpayers have bought their country and their children. u.s. foreign policy must revert to what it was before the cold war gave license to u.s. politicians to become democracy-mongering intervengsists. foreign policy is meant to defend our country, not to define who we are by doing what our elites define as good deeds overseas. in america foreign policy need do but one thing, it must protect america so as to allow for the domestic expansion of liberty, freedom and the equality of conditions. if no additional foreigner ever votes in this an election, americans and i would say
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europeans would be no worse off. and practically speaking, our efforts to build democracies abroad have a track record of making us less safe, not more safe. indeed, washington's interventionism and democracy crusading has impoverished us in treasure, blood, domestic political unity and what mr. lincoln called the rightful influence of our republican example. to protect the precious legacy our ancestors have built here in north america over the past four centuries, we in america must return to the founders' goal for our country, that of being the well wisher of freedom and independence for all, but the champion and the vind cay to have only of our own. thank you very much. [applause]
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>> thank you, michael. >> you're welcome. >> i have a feeling we are going to have some questions after that speech. i would encourage you to phrase your question as a question, and we'll take one per person only. second row, sir? no, sir, the one behind you. we'll get to you. >> thank you. i'm confused about the relationship between the saudi royal family and al-qaeda. can you explain that a little bit more? and particularly, how -- what is in the interest of the saudi royal family to establish al-qaeda cells in the united states? i mean, how does that work, why is it being done and how far has it progressed? >> the saudis are an offensive, almost imperialist purveyor of islam. they are, indeed, the people who want to build a caliphate
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worldwide. bin laden is more of a defensive jihadist wanting to take back the lands that he believes were taken from us islam -- islam. the saudis and the muslim brother hood in egypt and elsewhere are both sponsoring and paying for subversive activities, and indeed, are trying to make the world entirely islamic over time. the relationship with bin laden and the saudis is always a cloudy one. they have disowned him. they say. but i think you'll, you'll accept that things are never quite black and white in the arab world and especially in saudi arabia. parts of the royal family are said to still contribute money to bin laden, other islamists. certainly wealthy families and wealthy muslims around the world continue to do that. so the saudis are shielded by
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smiling, speaking english and holding hands with the president in the rose garden, but, you know, the taliban is not far from being what saudi arabia would be without the royal family. the taliban was educated by saudi educational, educationists, if you will. >> another question right in front here. >> the accomplishment of the failed package bombs bragged about how much, about how the millions it made america spend and disrupted everything. bin laden several times, which you haven't mentioned, was anxious to bankrupt the west. every target except the pentagon in the west was an economic target. in other parts of the world, they don't like good muslims watching sports things in pakistan, but in the west it was economic.
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be they're determined and, of course, as part of the culture of people who aren't on the -- [inaudible] sort of tend to exaggerate it, but if they're convinced they're responsible for united states going bankrupt, is the u.s. government -- the u.s. government does things that makes it look like they're not going to go bankrupt, what's going to stop them from -- >> well, i don't think i missed saying it, sir. i think i described bin laden's first priority as to take advantage of the economic conditions internationally to try to help that process along, to bankrupt us. that is clearly his intention. he knows for, you know, he's said publicly we can't invade milwaukee or words to that effect. their goal is, clearly, to make us spend money to the point where we don't have any left to spend, and we seem to be very -- doing, you know, quite well at that at the moment. >> but is there any way of not doing it if -- [inaudible]
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>> there's no way to do it, sir, until we tell the american people the truth, and we begin to fight the enemy that exists instead of the enemy that our politicians want us to believe in. of once we tell the american people it's what their government does and not how they live, perhaps we can have a rational discuss. but until then, we're going to keep spending money without much effect. for example, we've spent, what, 50 billion, $100 billion on damage jets at airports and crossing points around our country. so now we're fully capable of stopping a guy carrying a bomb wearing an i i love osama t-shirt as long as he comes through at miami or niagara. if he happens to drive a 13 or 18-year-old pickup truck across the border from be mexico to moussen, we don't have a -- houston, we don't have a prayer. so we're well on our way.
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you know, what do they say that those cargo aircraft bombs cost $4r5 00 -- dollar 4500? i would bet we've spent over a billion in beefing up our expenses. but it all starts at recognizing the enemy, and we haven't. >> can you talk a little bit more about the, what you just mentioned, the crossing in from mexico and from canada? you had said that hezbollah and iran have already established some sort of infrastructure? >> yes. >> what kind of evidence is there for that? >> oh, i think there's a great deal of evidence. if you read what the fbi has written with about it and has said publicly, there are strong al-qaeda organizations -- or hezbollah organizations in north carolina, in new york, montreal, toronto, vancouver, los angeles. initially established with the iranian intelligence service to keep an eye on the young shah and his followers, but it's clearly designed, also, to have a dual use which is to strike back against us.
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it's not talked about very much, you know, the bush administration talked about saddam having a terrorist capability here. and, of course, he didn't. but the iranians absolutely have a presence here. >> okay, thank you. on our left in the third row. >> i've a question or ask for a comment on the failure of the intelligence community which is part, you know, which is rapidly grown in funding and also power in the united states. and as a large part is responsible, i feel, for these wars that we engage in and their suggestion. >> well, i, you know, the intelligence community can't declare war -- well, no one declares war anymore, so let me step back from that. the intelligence community, particularly the cia, is peculiarly the instrument of the president of the united states. what the intelligence community does is ordered and authorized
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by the president, so the idea that somehow the cia in the community as a rogue organization is kind of nonaccess. nonsense. and you're seeing the absolute knave ri, if you will, of the president of the united states, mr. obama, in blaming the intelligence community for not telling him this stuff was going to happen in the middle east. for the past 30 years, the intelligence community has reported that the tyrannies in the middle east live on a knife edge, that they will be just fine as long as they're brutal and repressive and nothing out of the ordinary happens. if he didn't know that, it was failure of his senior advisers or of his ability to see the world as it is rather than he wants it to be. i suspect the only o intelligence failure was an inability to predict the day the guy lit himself up in tunisia. just as the intelligence failure in 9/11, of course, was
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mr. clinton's failure to kill bin laden when he had multiple chances in 1998 and '99. and the reason the war is going on in afghanistan today is because mr. bush didn't kill bin laden when the community had identified his presence at tora bora in december 2001. over the course of my career, intelligence failures are generally the result of republican and democratic presidents failing to act in time on intention that they -- on intelligence that they have. >> we need to move on. there's a gentleman right behind you. then we'll go to this side. >> i thought your presentation was very courageous and very intelligent. and is there any way that we -- i would like to read it and go true it again. is that -- through it again. is that available? >> well, this one is all marked up. i could surely send a copy to andy, and if he wants to put it on the web site or send it to people who request it, i don't
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think that's a problem. >> well, and this is being podcast as well. >> oh, i'm sorry. >> you can probably download it within a week. >> i'm sorry, i forgot. >> okay. gentleman -- yes. >> you've presented some very interesting points about alternative approaches to foreign policy and domestic policy. can you tell me what kind of following and what kind of support we might see in terms of congress or in terms of the executive branch with anything that you have -- >> i don't think we'll see any, ma'am. i think mr. paul is the only one who speaks on this, but the one thing i would tell you is i have toured the country quite a bit speaking, and people between the age of 24 and 36, 37 are very interested in doing more at home and less overseas. and so i tend to think that the quality of our leadership in both parties is so bad at this
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particular time that the only thing that's going to get us off the mark either on foreign policy or debt or a number of other issues is calamity. they won't do anything until a disaster occurs. i, i hate to be that cynical or that negative, but i've watched this for an awful long time, a very small portion of it, but i watched bin laden attack us, for example, in somalia in '94, twice in saudi arabia in '95 and '96, destroy two of our embassies in east africa in '98, almost sink the cole in 2000 and then 9/11. and after each one of those things, i thought the american government is not going to let this grow and fester forever. it's going to -- and it never did. and so i'm, i guess i would say i'm resigned to waiting for the calamity that will trigger change.
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>> why did we pull back at tora bora? you were here with gary berenson who was on the jaw breaker team, and gary said they had everything triangulated, they knew exactly where he was, that it had to do with the general. >> the generals. >> and pulling back. >> the generals -- if there is a blessing from are all this war, it perhaps is the fact that the next crop of generals won't be bureaucratic paper pushers, that they will have seen their troops die on the ground. the generals when we had bin laden caught in the tora bora mountains decided that it was bad public relations to lose our own troops, to do our own dirty work, if you will. and they found two afghan commanders to hire to go into the mountains to get him. gary was on the ground, sent the names back to us, and we did the name traces, my people did the name traces on the two
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gentlemen. both of them fought with bin laden against the soviets, and both of them were commanders for the local mujahideen tribal chieftain who with lived in the tora bora area. both of them were his commanders. so they were, cleary, going to be a day late and a dollar short. they took their money, and they were a day late and a dollar short, and osama got away. and can the only reason he did was we didn't use the 6,000 marines and the tenth mountain division that were nearby and eerg to go. eager to go. >> more questions. let's see, bill, if you can get this fella in the blue crew february here who doesn't have his hand up but did. yes. >> yes. i wanted to ask you about bin landen. you said one of the issues is we were exploiting the oil from the middle east. it seems to me that it's a two-way street, the fact that we're dependent on the oil is a
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plus for him, not a minus. so could you explain that? >> the argument is that until recently at least we have exploited the oil at prices less than the market would have required. and that's so there's an amount of theft. he's an economist in part by training, and there's long discussions of how much other commodities have gone up. and until recently oil had not approached the growth in other commodities. so the idea is both that we took, we're taking oil at below market prices, but as important that muslim governments are kowtowing to us by selling oil at less than market prices. oil remains one of the hardest targets for al-qaeda because they recognize it's our achille's heel, but if they destroy a production facility in the middle east, it hurts muslims which is one of the
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reasons they're so focused on a place like houston, forest. >> mr. shower -- >> sir. >> very good presentation. >> thank you. >> but to the point of -- it seems to me you're advocating until we get to more or we become an isolationist country again, that kind of -- to me, it flies in the face of how we have become so, you know, interconnected globally. so, you know, what are the chances -- what is the chance of that happening in your estimation? >> i think the chance of it happening probably is pretty strong as we continue to be punished and beaten in various wars and the american people decide the game's not worth the candle. but i also think that isolationism is a slur. i think america has never been isolationist. if you look at the scholarship in the last 50 years that looked at the interwar period, america was never more fully engaged in
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the world economically, educationally, scientifically. nonintervention doesn't mean fortress america. it means trade, it means international cooperation in climate activities, it means all of those things. what nonintervention means, i think, is not becoming involved in problems in which we have no interest, which we have, basically, very little knowledge. and at the end of the day, don't impinge on our interests. we have -- i think we have anyway, sir, in my lifetime seen a bloating of what we call national interest. you know, freedom of the seas and now freedom of the air for transportation. certainly, unfortunately, energy is a national security interest, but to be a parent of a 20-year-old who's considering the marines, to think that someday i might have to face a dead son because my government
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thought it was worth spending his life so mrs. mohamed can vote would be very painful, i think. and so i don't think i'm arguing for isolationism. i think i'm arguing for perhaps a better definition of what east really in our interest -- what's really many our interest. >> lady in the fifth row. >> the current strife in egypt seems to be democraticically-inspired, all sorts of persons at this time and in the past we have have been out on the streets. and i'm wondering what kind of response you think we should make to egypt just to stay out of it and let mubarak and others handle it? how should we relate to the current egyptian situation? >> well, i think the way, we've proven the way we shouldn't which is to have come down on both sides. first, we were for a pro -- a
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quick transition to democracy, mrs. clinton said. then we said, well, wait a minute, maybe we need mubarak to look other things until -- over things until the election comes. i think perhaps the best option is to keep your mouth shut and let the cards kind of fall where they may. but to be realistic, we really can't do that. we have put for 30 or more years -- we have built, rather, for 30 or more years our position on the middle east on supporting tyranny. whether it is in saudi arabia in the persian gulf or to protect israel with we have maintained the jordanian tyranny and the tyranny in egypt. and be by not taking out the al assads, we are let that tyranny exist also. so the real problem for us all f us, i think, to face is that if
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there is a change in government in hoi of those -- any of those three particular dictatorships, israel's security is compromise ed. the compromise of it security that began with the destruction of saddam is multiplied. because any government that follows those three governments is going to be a less effective, more influenced by domestic islamists. i would doubt, for example, that egypt would renounce the treaty, but they would be less willing to expand it or further that cooperation, and they certainly would not be willing to kill egyptians who were trying to help the palestinians. so i think we really -- the other thing if i can say it quite sincerely, what i take away from the egypt situation is the utter failure of the
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american educational system to prepare americanss for how the world is and not how we want it to be. the idea that any responsible politician in either party or in the media would expect a democracy to emerge in egypt is either a signal that they don't know american history, or they have no respect for what we've accomplished really in 800 years. and the media, of course o, is a cheerleader for these people. who do they, who do they interview? they interview egyptians who are middle class, educated english speakers. so what does, what impression do we get, that they want a secular democracy? does it make sense, really, in a time of turmoil, violence and perhaps instability for a prolonged period that 32 million
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muslims in egypt would reach for an alien ideology like secular democracy over a thousand-year-old faith in islam, it's, it just strikes me that our education system has really left us in a bind. i had, i was on fox earlier this afternoon, and i had people -- i just finally kept my mouth shut. [laughter] because the host was insisting that cairo was on the verge of becoming philadelphia in terms of governing itself. [laughter] >> i see hands, but we have time for only two more. the lady in the second row right here. >> the media reported that there was a cyber attack on iran, nuclear facilities that originated with a joint
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american/israeli faction. could you give us some insight on who or what is behind that and what is -- is it still going on? is it still a threat? >> ma'am, i've been out of the government for six years. i'm, but just listening to the media, it's apparent that u.s. officials are extraordinarily concerned about what they're calling cybersecurity. and i also know from my own time in the government that the military was ordered to develop a very vigorous capability to attack cyber targets. and i've read that they went -- that it was either a u.s. or an israeli or a joint effort to go after the iranian computer system or whatever it was. but i don't know that for a fact. you know, all i can give you is speculation except that over the last few years i was still working at the agency, cyber
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warfare was becoming a, a password kind of a very important concept, and it was attracting large amounts of funding. >> we're going to take one more question all the way in back there, but i would point you to an article that was in the times magazine about three weeks ago about the creation of the stuxnet virus between israel and the u.s. and, i believe, siemens, which is the corporation that makes the generators that were sabotaged. yes, sir. >> yes. my name's mike, and my question, observation is could america really get to listen to what you're saying? i have a feeling that the country, meaning america, has grown somewhat too tall to be able to find which foot to dance
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on. it seems that it's going to -- [inaudible] around for a long time until get this matter under control. could america, for instance, survive without the oil that they're going after? and can could america survive by doing a proper policy? would you not think that by targeting different groups that america judges are pernicious, potentially pernicious to the country, anticipating what they could be doing in the future? and -- >> sir, you know, we've got to limit. you've asked three questions already, so we'll answer one of those. thank you. >> if i understand correctly, you wanted to know if we could possibly change policies, is that. that --
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>> he was asking about -- go ahead, one question, please. >> can america, it seems there's really no choice for america to do that at this point. >> i see. let me answer that. that is certainly a common concern. i'm now 58, and perhaps one of the biggest changes since i was a boy was that when i was a kid, america could do most anything whether it was go to the moon or win the cold war. and now everything's too hard. it's too hard to reduce the deficit, it's too hard to change foreign policy, it's too hard to control the border, it's -- everything is too hard. well, life is hard. and when they talk about oil, imagine if we had done anything except move daylight savings time up three weeks in the last 40 years? perhaps we wouldn't be in the position we are today. there's nothing on the arab peninsula that's worth a dead marine except for oil. and, you know, i was saying to
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somebody earlier today that i have been surprised that americans who really value israel and its security haven't been among the most aggressive impressing for american energy self-sufficiency. because if we do that, we can stop supporting these tyrannies in the muslim world, and we can deny some of the, of the i -- of the grew of unity that holds -- glue of unity that holds our enemies together. but it's like everything else in life, it requires leadership. and leadership is more than cheerleading. and, unfortunately, i haven't seen a president since mr. reagan who is kind of worth a bucket of warm spit when it comes to being a leader. >> i guess we'll leave it there, folks. [laughter] thank you for coming. [applause] >> thank you all very much for coming out tonight.
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[inaudible conversations] >> and for more about michael scheuer and his work visit >> you're watching book the on c-span2, 48 hours of nonfiction authors and books every week. every weekend. >> we're at the national press club on authors and book night talking with the authors of the kennedy detail. joe blaine was a former secret service agent who was on mr. kennedy's detail. can you tell us a little bit about what that was like? >> can you tell them what it was like to be a secret service agent? >> it was pretechnology in those days. we had very few agents, and we did not have radios. we operated by hand signals.
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we wore sunglasses. in our pocket we carried 3x5 photographs of people we were looking for, and the glasses kind of helped hide our eyes, and it was an altogether different world then. >> and what was it like being on president kennedy's dee tail? -- detail? >> what was it like being on president kennedy's detail? is. >> fantastic. he was quite a man, and both -- this is clint hill over here, by the way, and lisa who helped me with the book. we both started with president eisenhower who did not have a far cyst bone in his body and operated like clockwork and rode in a closed-top car. when president kennedy came along, the world lit up. >> and what made you decide to write about your experience after all this time?
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>> well, there are very few of us left anymore, and we decided that it was time to share our story because history today is slanted towards the cottage industry of conspiracy, and over the past 47 years there's not been one solid piece of evidence. so the agents decided we'd better get our, excuse me, weet better get our -- we'd better get our version of what happened, and that's why the book was written. >> we're going to come down and talk to clint hill who's part of president kennedy's detail can you share with us one of your more stark memories of being on president kennedy's detail? >> unfortunately, i was there at the time of the assassination. i was responsible for mrs. kennedy, and i was on the follow-up car behind the president's car and witnessed the president being shot and tried to intercede by getting to
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him before anything else happened. unfortunately, i was unable to do so. but, so i saw everything unfold. i was a witness to everything. >> and, um, what inspired you to write about your experience at this time? >> well, i wrote the forward to the book. mr. blaine promised me that the book would be factual, no salacious, and so i agreed to contribute to it as long as i could check the facts, which i did. >> and your role in writing about the kennedy detail? well,d

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CSPAN March 6, 2011 9:00am-10:15am EST

Michael Scheuer Education. (2011) Michael Scheuer ('Osama Bin Laden.')

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